Thursday, February 02, 2006

Too Many Hats

This week I wore my tax consultant/travel agent/I guess we are unschoolers’ hat. Filing our taxes really isn't that bad, with the tax preparation software. But it takes time and organization. I usually spend time looking for some misplaced item, like the DMV registration.

I must add that we always get a tax refund. I told my husband that I just couldn't bring myself to file the paper work if we owed money at the end. I know that giving the government an interest free loan (by the over payment of our taxes) is not a good money management philosophy, but it is the only way I can keep me cool about taxes. I saved the state of California over $20,000 last year by homeschooling our children. They could show me a little appreciation.
Most years we use our tax refund to go on a trip. Travel is a big part of our educational philosophy. I've gotten pretty good at finding travel deals on the internet. (We once spent a month away from home and it cost us less than $1000.) Of course sometimes, things don't work out as planned. The bungalow we rented in Hawaii was a great deal. However, it came with feral chickens. One roster in particular would sit on our lanai and crow all night. I found that if I shut all the windows, turned on the air conditioning (which we didn't need) and took an antihistamine, I could sleep.

Anyway, I enjoy the challenge of finding good deals on travel. We plan most of our travel in the spring. We don't like to travel during summer or school breaks. One of the beauties of homeschooling is being able to travel during the off season when lines are short and fairs are cheaper.

So as a result of my travel planning/tax preparations, my kids have had more time to pursue their own interests. I feel like a homeschooler with a split personality. Sometimes we are classical homeschoolers and sometimes we are unschoolers. When we are in an unschooling mode, I feel guilty every time I hear about friends' structured schedules. When we are homeschooling in a classical structured way, I feel guilty about not having enough discovery learning. I think this type of thinking is why so many people (50%) don't make it through the first year of homeschooling. They crack under the self-inflicted pressure of too many hats.


Melissa O. Markham said...

Excellent post! And oh so true! I often find myself saying I am doing too much or not enough. And then when we have those moments (like kids studying on their own) or them teaching me something, I smile and big dummy...they are doing just fine.

Of course the flip side is yesterday, my 9 year old seemed to completely forget how to do subtraction! AAGGGHHH!!!

Janine Cate said...

I've had days like that. I had a kid who I thought would never learn to read comfortably. And then like magic one day, she was reading with no problems.

It is the waiting for them to bloom that is the hardest.


Andrea R said...

Hi! The 3rd carnival of unschooling is up here:
and you're in it. ;)